My first Eid away from Home – at The Jama Masjid


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The greatness of the Jama Masjid was felt during my first visit to Dariyagunj. I was heading for a delicious Mughlai dinner at the legendary Karim’s and seen the huge minarets and the domes of the mosque from a distance. It was one of the last few days of the Ramzan and naturally, the entire area was lit up beautifully. The Meena Bazar, which is adjacent to the mosque was filled with people doing their last minute Eid shopping and the shops in fact extended to the main road. I was to come for the morning prayer on the day of the Eid. It was little unfortunate that I had to spend the Eid away from home but there was an excitement that I will read the prayer at the great Jama Masjid.

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The moment my auto took a turn from the ring road, I can spot countless heads covered in white Taquyahs and all those were heading towards the Jama Masjid. It was still very early in the morning and there was more than an hour left for the prayer but already a strong crowd was there. The auto could not go beyond the Brij Mohan Chowk crossing from where I started walking. It was a narrow street but full of activity. What I most like about the festivals of India is that it becomes a manner of social equality. Truly, the thousands of people wearing new kurtas, sherwanis, Taquyahs, Fez come from different social, economic and cultural background but it is impossible to identify them.

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The steps

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The gateway – Inside

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The gateway – Outside

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The Mosque & the courtyard

I entered through the South Gate. The huge gate has 33 broad steps under it and is built in true Mughal Style. The Jama Masjid, which was actually named Masjid-I-Jahan-Numa or the ‘Mosque that commands the view of the world’ was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the yeat 1656 which makes it one of the last major monuments of Mughal Era. Naturally, by that time, Mughal Architecture was fully flourished and this mosque is a true representation of that. The two storied hexagonal gateway has a grand pointed arch centrally with two cusped arch windows on each floor of the adjoining sides. The best part of the gateway is its terrace, which largely resembles the great Buland Darwaza – beautiful arched panels as parapet and a series of Arches & domes above it. The corners of the hexagonal gate have octagonal minarets. While the entire gateway was covered with red sandstone, the top domes are made of marble.

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The Red Fort & The Meena Bazar

Upon entering the gate I was greeted with a huge courtyard with the main mosque towards my left. The courtyards have two more similar gateways – one towards the east which faces the Red Fort and another towards the North which connects the Chandni Chawk. The courtyard is beautifully enclosed with a raised verandah all around which is also a series of cusped arches and arched parapet. The corners of the courtyard had an octagonal verandah with a marble dome on top – these areas were occupied by the people from the press. The courtyard, which has almost 1200 sq.mt. area has a capacity of 25000 people praying together.

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The pool

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The Mosque

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The Royal Platform

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The Courtyard

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The Mosque

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The Mosque

The Main mosque is gigantic. Three huge onion domes which are the trademark of Mughal Architecture and two high minarets at the corners. The central Iwan portal which marks the main entry to the prayer hall was huge and projected from the main building. The surface is a beautiful work of red sandstone and white marble. On both sides of the Iwan Portal there are five cusped arched gateways and at the sides of the facade two gigantic minarets are placed. The Minarets are 40 metres high and can be accessed through a door at the ground. There are 130 steps inside which leads to the top from where a beautiful picture of Old Delhi can be seen. The gates remain closed on the days of Eid and thus, I could not enter the minarets. The most fascinating thing about the facade of the mosque is the beautiful proportion of red & white. The minarets are perfectly drafted with vertical stripes of white which gives a elongated feeling and they looks even higher. The domes, too had black vertical stripes which make it an extraordinary one. Like traditional Mughal architecture, the domes are topped with bulbous finial with a lotus base – a derivation from Hindu Architecture. The mosque is about 90 meters long and 27.5 meters in breadth.

When I reached, It was pretty empty inside, I washed at the central pond. The praying seat for the sultan made with marble is still present and it seems to be a popular photography spot for the children. I went to the surrounding terrace to have a greater look at the outside. The Eastern gate was overlooking the historic Meena Bazar and the Red Fort at a distance. All around, on every street I could see, it was only people approaching. I was not sure If everybody could be accommodated. A local person informed me that, when the courtyard gets full, the surrounding verandah, the terraces and then the outside steps and also the streets get occupied by people offering their prayer. The garden on the Eastern side also has a good capacity. It is certain nearly a Lakh of people come here for their Eid prayer. Within a few minutes, I could see the courtyard getting full and I went down to secure a place for myself.

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Close up- the mosque

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Close up – the Arch

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Close up – the prayer hall

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Close up – the minaret

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Close up – the Iwan Portal

Soon the Namaz started. I was thrilled – I was offering Namaz at a place where once the great Emperor Shah Jahan with his sons Dara Sikoh, Shah Suja and Aurangjeb offered their Namaz. The Namaz was over soon and It was time for greeting. I was an outside with no relatives there but that did not stop people from greeting me. The persons who were beside me happily extended greeting to me and we hugged each other. The process repeated with few more. By that time, I was more confident and could spot a few outsiders like me and we greeted each other. These people were from Kerala. It was my first Eid prayer with complete strangers but soon I had a few companions.

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Greeting on

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Greeting on

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Greeting on

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Greeting on

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The food stalls outside

The crowd disappeared quickly but I stayed inside to see the mosque properly and take a few photographs. After that, I went out to have my breakfast. I was planning to head to Karim’s again but unfortunately, it remains closed on the day of Eid. So, I went to the adjoining restaurant and ordered my favourite – Mutton Chaap and Tandoori Roti. My first Eid outside home started quite well. Now It was time to explore more of Mughal marvels of the city.

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27 thoughts on “My first Eid away from Home – at The Jama Masjid

  1. Pooja Samtani says:

    What a great place to celebrate Eid. I stay in Delhi and this place is so special. Loved to see the happy kids celebrating. Absolutely love the food there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hendrik says:

    This is truly a very impressive building. Standing in front must be overwhelming, just already because of the sheer size. I really like the focus on all the many details there. This gives you the chance to explore from the very big picture to the smallest applications, which is amazing. I think one can spend hours and hours there just to have a closer look at all those details. The combination of red sandstone and white marble looks beautiful, perfectly fitting for Jama Masjid.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thetraveller says:

    A very impressive post about an equally impressive place in Delhi. Post reminds me of the feeling that you st celebrating any festival away from home. I have experienced this and not very good. Glad you enjoyed and overcame this by saying your mamas at the Jana masjid. I have visited this place myself and is so beautiful. Very well captured. Great visuals and once again Eid Mubarak.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ada says:

    With everyone focusing on Taj Mahal now I see there is more of stunning mosques in India! Ive never heard about Jama Masjid but it looks amazing! It must have been a wonderful experience for you be there and pray with other people! Wonderful post

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tales of travelling sisters says:

    I love how you captured the Eid celebrations at the Jama Masjid. I’m yet to visit this impressive structure, it is truly magnificent. And visiting it on an auspicious like Eid makes it all the more special. Thanks for the share!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Daniel Armesto says:

    This must be such an impressive celebration! 25,000 people sound absolutely crazy, even in such a huge courtyard! The mosque is very beautiful as well, I can’t believe I missed it when I visited Delhi! Love the pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yukti says:

    First of all I congratulate you for your post being number 1 on Indi Blogger. You have captured true feelings of Eid and the architecture of Jama Masjid in your article. Royal Platform looks very splendid and I must say, Jama Masjid is Jewel of Delhi.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 100cobbledroads says:

    The atmosphere and spirit around Jama Masjid at the time of Eid and Ramzan are to be experienced in person. You have captured it all so beautifully in your pictures. One of the most magnificent monuments of our country.

    Liked by 1 person

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